Monthly Archives: April 2006

Computer Stupidities

The following is a large collection of stories and anecdotes about clueless computer users. It’s a baffling phenomenon that in today’s society an individual, who might in other circumstances be considered smart and wise, can sit down in front of a computer screen and instantly lose every last shred of common sense he ever possessed.

Computer Stupidities

Southern Cross fibre cut in USA

A large fiber link has been cut on mainland USA, affecting Australian ISPs using Southern Cross for international bandwidth. The break could be affecting a number of ISPs due to its size and popularity. There is currently no ETA available for a repair time.

In 2001, bad luck and timing resulted in a complete outage of Southern Cross, due to a submarine fiber cut while the backup link was down for maintenance.

The "Star Wars Kid" Settles

It appears as though the Star Wars Kid featured in this famous video has reached an out of court settlement with his ex-friends over the video that they released onto the internet. While his emulation of a Jedi Knight is somewhat poor, I suspect that many a Star Wars fan has done something similar or equally funny in there moments of obsession. I personally don’t think he has much to worry about.

X-Men 3

While I hang desperately to see this movie, being that it’s still in production it could be some time, so not holding my breath is a good idea.

No question about it. Let’s look at the facts. (Now don’t worry, we aren’t going to spoil things for you. We just want to give you a better idea as to what everyone’s favourite mutant good guy is up against.) Wolverine will suffer the consequences of battling Juggernaut, Dark Phoenix, and (though he may have a slim chance of survival) going one-on-one with the man himself, Magneto – not all at the same time, of course. So, yeah, X-Men: The Last Stand will be downright torturous for Wolverine.

Now you might ask, how can we be sure Wolverine battles Magneto? Well, IGN FilmForce was on X-Men’s gargantuan Golden Gate Bridge set, watching Magneto use his metal-warping ability to torture Wolverine. The scene takes place at night on Alcatraz.

Magneto, you see, has taken one end of the bridge and attached it to the island. Where the roadway meets the land is a panorama of destruction – an ascending bluff of fragmented concrete, with auto-mobiles upended and crushed within. As the scene is filmed, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine lies on his back in agony, yelling, his blades scraping at the dirt, as McKellan as Magneto holds his gloved hand over him, palm outward. In between shots, Jackman gets to his feet and dusts himself off. “He’s destroying me, breaking my pain threshold. I really hate that guy.”

On the other hand, what Jackman loves is the character Wolverine. He jumped at the opportunity, and the challenge, to play him again. “You want to be able to do it better and take it further,” he says. “You want to show more.” Though he wasn’t contractually bound to return for a third film, he was inspired because “everyone wanted to be here. Ian [McKellan] was saying and [director] Brett [Ratner] was saying, ‘We’re all proud of it.’ I think we have the best script to start with of any of the three.”

Central to X-Men: The Last Stand is the matter of a scientific breakthrough. A young boy (Leech) is found to have the power to nullify the abilities of other mutants. By studying the boy, a pharmaceuticals company, Worthington Labs, has developed a drug that will effectively make any mutant “normal.” Magneto, of course, wants to use the boy for his own evil purposes. (You know, like subjugating mankind and any mutant who opposes him. That sort of thing.) His reign of fear and destruction is such that, now, every mutant must ask themselves: Will you stand for the good of mankind?

For Wolverine, Jackman says the new circumstances elicit an “interesting progression” for an archetypal reluctant hero. Wolverine is “not a political beast in any way shape or form. I think he starts as someone with very little opinion about the cure, except for what it means for him.” Wolverine’s viewpoint is: “You do what you want to do and I’ll do what I want to do. If you want to take the cure, you take the cure. If you don’t, whatever, I could give a s***.”

Jackman says what Wolverine must now answer is: “Will he join the X-Men? Will he be a part of it? What role will he play? Will it be an issue of leadership? Will he be a real team player?” And in tackling these questions, “he’s forced in the course of this movie to actually work out what the cure is; politically, socially, and what his view on it is.”

Also playing into Wolverine’s decision to “step up and take action” is his relationship to Jean Grey. With Jean’s reappearance, Wolverine pursues her assistance only to find himself up against someone who, let’s say, isn’t really who she used to be. The havoc he receives from Dark Phoenix is reason enough to take a stand. (And so too is it for Storm, as she faces Dark Phoenix. Yeah, we’re talkin’ wind and fury.) Or, maybe Wolverine is convinced when he assists Kitty Pride in her attempt to break Leech out of Worthington Labs? There he gets a fist to the face from Juggernaut. (Does getting thrown across the lab, and smashed through a glass partition, also constitute having the sense knocked into you?)

“This cure is the source of the battle that’s going on,” says Jackman. “You have to eventually take a side. That’s what I think is great about this story. For Wolverine, he works that out. There is a lot at stake in this movie. I think that there’s going to be a lot of shocks in store for the fans.”

Article From News Limited

Surviving a Disk Crash

Well luckly it wasn’t in my own computer, although haveing more than 5 disks the chances are greater of one failing than normal. Besides this I thought it prudent to publish an artical I have seen on the PC World website (Hardware Tips: Surviving a Disk Crash–a Checklist)

The artical was from the January 2001 issue of PC World magazine and written by Kirk Steers

A day like any other: You turn on your PC, but instead of the familiar Windows logo you see nothing. You think, “My hard disk crashed!” You’re frantic. Have you lost weeks of work, hours of free time, and maybe even your job? What do you do?

Exactly the same thing a well-trained pilot does when facing a serious problem: Take out your emergency checklist and try to set things right–one step at a time.

1. Don’t panic. Sit back, take a deep breath, and relax. A blank screen or a failure to boot up doesn’t always mean you have a crashed hard drive. Today’s hard disks often outlast all other key PC components, and running system utilities unnecessarily or removing and reinstalling your hardware can do more harm than good.

2. Try to restart. Turn your computer off, wait 10 seconds, and turn it back on. This resets the computer–which is often all that’s required to solve the problem.

3. Check the obvious. If your screen stays blank, check all power cords, cables, and connectors to make sure they’re firmly attached. Check your surge protector to make sure it hasn’t blown a fuse or been destroyed by an errant voltage spike. And make sure the brightness and contrast settings on your monitor haven’t been turned all the way down.

4. Listen for clues. As your PC starts up, you should hear (and maybe feel) the power-supply fan rev up. You should also hear your hard disk spinning merrily. If all is quiet on the hardware front, you may have a bad power supply or a loose power connection. Open up your PC’s case and make sure all the power-supply cables to your hard drive and motherboard are attached properly. (Remember: Always use an antistatic wrist strap or other antistatic protection before touching any of your PC’s internal components.)

If you hear a series of beeps before your system locks up, note their number and whether the beeps are long or short. This audio error message from your system’s BIOS provides information about a problem it has detected. Check with the manufacturer of your system to identify your particular error.

5. Look for clues. When your PC starts, it runs a Power-On Self Test that confirms the presence of such essential hardware components as memory chips, video cards, and hard drives. Watch for error messages as the results of each check appear on the monitor. (Pressing Pause will freeze the screen to prevent messages from disappearing too quickly.)

You may also see confirmation or error messages as your system initializes such higher-level devices as the CD-ROM drive. You don’t always need an error message, however. If your system locks up while configuring such a peripheral, then chances are that’s the culprit.

If your system launches Windows, your disk is at least partially functional. Windows 95 and 98 still use the DOS autoexec.bat and config.sys files to load drivers for some old hardware. If your PC locks up while loading these drivers, press F8 after you see “Starting Windows 9x”. This allows you to run the files one line at a time to see what device is loading when trouble occurs.

If you get a “Boot disk failure” or “Operating system not found” error instead of a “Starting Windows 9x” message, your PC can’t load Windows from the hard disk. This may indicate a badly damaged drive.

6. Boot from a floppy. This process bypasses the hard drive and confirms that your computer is otherwise healthy. Use the Windows start-up disk that came with your system. (If you don’t have a start-up disk, it’s a good idea to make one before you need it: Insert a blank floppy disk, click Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel, select the Startup Disk tab, and click Create Disk, as shown in here.)

Restart your system with the start-up disk in the floppy drive. If your system successfully boots and displays the A:\ prompt, your PC is working properly. Try accessing your hard disk by typing C: at the prompt and pressing Enter. If you get a C:\ prompt, change directories and try to copy a small file to the floppy.

If that works, then you’re able to write to the disk, and your disk may still have some life in it (sometimes disks die a slow death). Take the opportunity to back up any important files you need to, and then run a hard-disk diagnostic utility such as ScanDisk, which is ready to run from the start-up disk, or Norton Disk Doctor.

7. Check your CMOS settings. If you get an error message saying “Drive C: not found” (or something similar), your PC may not recognize the hard disk because it lost all its CMOS settings, which happens when the CMOS battery starts to die. To fix this, enter the CMOS setup program: While your PC boots, press Delete, F1, F10, or whatever key your PC uses (check your documentation). If no hard disk is listed, you need to reenter the disk’s settings. You can do this manually (the settings are usually found printed on the hard drive’s case), but most PCs will reenter them for you by using the CMOS setup program’s hard-drive autoconfigure utility.

If you’ve taken all these steps and your hard drive is still as useful as a trailer hitch on a Maserati, then it’s time to consult the experts. DriveSavers and Ontrack Data Recovery are two data-recovery services that may be able to retrieve data on your dearly departed drive.